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  60 Minutes  CBS  December 4, 2016 7:06pm-7:18pm PST

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we spoke with ryan on thursday in his capitol office about a partnership that may become the most scrutinized in washington. how often are you speaking to the president-elect? >> paul ryan: about every day. >> pelley: do you call him, or does he call you? >> ryan: both. >> pelley: when you call over to the-- >> ryan: he answers his cell phone. i sh-- probably shouldn't say that on tv. ( laughs ) he just-- he just answers the phone. >> pelley: you call donald trump on his cell phone? >> ryan: all the time. >> pelley: and how does he answer? what does he say? >> ryan: he says, "hi, hello." >> pelley: he doesn't say, "this is the president-elect?" >> ryan: no. he's a pretty casual guy. he calls me paul. i call him mr. president-elect, because i just-- i have a reverence for the office. but-- yeah, he's very casual about it. >> pelley: "hey, this is paul. and here's-- here's something i'm thinking about." >> ryan: yeah, yeah. all the time. >> pelley: how long do those conversations go on? >> ryan: 20 to 45 minutes. >> pelley: have you told him being president is not being c.e.o. of the united states, that the congress is going to have a say? >> ryan: oh, we've talked about that extensively. we've talked about-- the constitution, article one on the constitution, the separation of powers. he feels very strongly, actually, that-- that, under
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president obama's watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the constitution, away from the legislative branch of government. and we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the constitution are rightfully restored. >> pelley: and that's what donald trump believes? he believes in the separation of power? you don't think he thinks he's going to run this country the way he wants to? >> ryan: no, i think he understands there's a constitution, and that those separate but equal branches of government give us a limited government. and he believes that. >> pelley: you called donald trump a racist. >> ryan: no, i didn't. i said his comment was. >> pelley: uh-huh. well-- i'm not sure there's a great deal of daylight between those two definitions. but he definitely called you ineffective and disloyal. have you patched it up? >> ryan: yeah, we have. we're fine. we're not looking back. that's behind us. we're way beyond that. now we're talking about, how do we fix this country's problems. >> pelley: you know, i'm curious, though. how did you patch it up? who apologized to whom? ( laughs ) how did that conversation go? >> ryan: we went fine. it was-- pretty much the day after the election, or maybe two
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days after the election, and we basically decided to let bygones be g-- bygones, and let's move forward and fix this country's problems. and it was over and done with. and ever since then, we've had nothing but extremely productive conversations. >> pelley: paul ryan has led the majority in the house just over a year. he took the job, reluctantly, when his predecessor gave up on trying to pull the fractured party together. ryan is 46, from wisconsin and an expert on the budget. what is the first bill you intend to pass? >> ryan: well, the first bill we're going to be working on is our obamacare legislation. >> pelley: you're going to repeal it first? >> ryan: yes. >> pelley: you're not pulling the rug out from under the 20 million people who already have- - >> ryan: no, no. we-- >> pelley: --obamacare. >> ryan: we want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price. >> pelley: so what are we talking about? months? years? >> ryan: i can't give you an answer to that. we're still working on that. >> pelley: but people talked about three years, in terms of a transition. >> ryan: yeah, i don't know the answer to that right now. what we know is we have to make good on this promise. we have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under obamacare. >> pelley: what do republicans
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intend to put in its place? >> ryan: patient-centered healthcare that gets everybody access to affordable healthcare coverage. so they can buy what they what they want to buy. >> pelley: so people will still get coverage, regardless of their pre-existing condition. >> ryan: yeah. we think pre-existing conditions is a very important feature of any healthcare system. >> pelley: children will stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26? >> ryan: yeah, that's something that we actually have always had in our plan, as well. >> pelley: and women will pay the same as men? that didn't used to be the case. >> ryan: it depends on the age of a person. so-- w-- we believe that we should-- have support based on age. the sicker and the older you get, the more support you ought to get. if you're a person that has-- low income, you probably should have more assistance than a person with high income, for example. >> pelley: is your plan going to cover everyone in america? >> ryan: we will give everyone access to affordable healthcare coverage. >> pelley: in the first year, what else do you expect to get through the congress? >> ryan: we really want to focus on economic growth and growing the economy. there are a lot of regulations that are really just crushing jobs. look at the coal miners in the rust belt that are getting out of work. look at the-- look at the
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loggers and the timber workers and-- and the paper mills in-- in the west coast. look at the ranchers or-- or farmers in the midwest with-- with regulations. >> pelley: are you talking about rolling back environmental regulations, safety regulations? >> ryan: we're talking about smarter regulations that actually help us grow jobs in this country. we want to have good stewardship and conversation of the environment and economic growth. we have a real economic growth problem in america. we are limping along. wages are flat, and jobs aren't being created near to the extent that they could and should be. so we think regulatory relief is very, very important, and that's something we're going to work on day one. >> pelley: ryan told us that he can now support trump's changed positions on immigration-- from deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, to focusing on only those who've committed crimes-- and from building a 2,000 mile wall to something less. >> ryan: no, we're not working on a d-- deportation force. here's what we're working on with respect to immigration, securing our border, enforcing our current laws. he talked about-- criminal aliens. that's just enforcing laws for
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people who came here illegally, who came and committed violent crimes. we should enforce those laws. but really, what we're focused on is securing our border. >> pelley: well, trump said he was going to build a wall. >> ryan: yeah, i think conditions on the ground determine what you need in a particular area. some areas, you might need a wall. some area, you might need double fencing. i-- my own view on this is, whatever kind of-- device or barrier or policy to secure the boarder, that's necessary to secure the border, then do it. >> pelley: how big will the tax cut be for the middle class? >> ryan: well, again, we haven't written this bill. but if you want to get a sense of what we're looking at, it's virtually identical with the one that donald trump rolled out in the campaign. it means everyone gets lower tax rates, but we plug loopholes to pay for it. >> pelley: but give me a number. what is the tax cut for the average middle-class family? >> ryan: when i have a bill, i'll tell you the number. let's do this again-- >> pelley: you've thought this through. you've been thinking it through for years. what would you like to see? >> ryan: yeah, so the tax rates that we talked about, for-- individuals, we would have a 15% bracket, i think a 25% bracket, and a 33% bracket.
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we have seven brackets. we consolidate down to three. the other thing that's really important in tax reform is making sure that we don't tax american businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs. it is costing us jobs. it's one of the reasons all these american companies are moving overseas. >> pelley: what should the corporate tax rate be? >> ryan: well, our plan says 20%, and donald trump's plan says 15%. it's now 35%. >> pelley: do you think the rich will benefit the most from your tax reform plan? >> ryan: here's the point of our tax plan: grow jobs. get this economy growing. raise wages. simplify the tax system, so it's easy to comply with. >> pelley: you-- you're a little shy, when i ask you about the rich receiving the greatest part of the-- >> ryan: well, here's the problem when you-- >> pelley: --of the tax cuts. >> ryan: --when you ask these things. most of that income is small- business income. you have to remember, eight out of ten businesses in america, they file their business as individuals, as people, and so we think of that as the rich.
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but it's that business in the-- in the business park out of jamesville, wisconsin, that has 50 employees. and do i want to lower their tax rates? you bet i do. >> pelley: mr. trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure program. what are you going to build, and how are you going to pay for it? >> ryan: well i think, that should be decided by the marketplace. that should be decided by the needs in the particular states and communities as to what is built or rebuilt. and it's going to be one of our high priorities that we are going to be addressing this year. >> pelley: one of your high priorities that we heard almost nothing about during the campaign is poverty. >> ryan: actually, i've talked to him a lot about that. we feel very strongly about making work pay, about getting people transitioned from welfare to work. get people skills they need, help they need, so they can get on the ladder of life. >> pelley: ryan told us he has no plans to change social security, but government health insurance, including medicare, is a fire, he says, burning in the budget.
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>> ryan: if you want to think of the-- the fire that's burning-- it is the fact that-- the baby boom generation, no offense, and there's a lot of you. >> pelley: i-- i qualify. >> ryan: yeah, you qualify. and-- and we're just not ready for the retirement of the baby boomers, and we'd better prepare for that. >> pelley: what changes do you plan for medicare? >> ryan: here's the problem. medicare goes bankrupt in about ten years. the trust fund runs out of money. so we have to make sure that we shore this program up, and the reforms that we've been talking about don't change the benefit for anybody who is in or near retirement. my mom's now enjoying medicare. she's already retired. she earned it. but for those of us, you know, the x-gen-- generation on down, it won't be there for us-- on its current path. so we have to bring reform to this program for the younger generation, so that it's there for us when we retire, and so that we can keep cash flowing to current generations' commitments, and the more we kick the can down the road, the more we delay, the worse it gets. >> pelley: but you are going to kick the can down the road for the next year or two. this is not your top priority. >> ryan: it's not our t-- i haven't even discussed this
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with-- with donald trump yet. but it is a-- it is an issue that we have to tackle. >> pelley: from his balcony, the speaker is watching the rise of donald trump's inauguration platform. but, for ryan, the best view in washington isn't a pretty sight. you know, one thing i noticed during our interview inside was that every time you talked about the evils of washington, you glanced out the window. >> ryan: i do, because that's where all the bureaucracy's are. yeah. yeah, yeah. that's right. >> pelley: you think of this town as part of the problem, not part of the solution. >> ryan: absolutely i do. if you look down, i can see h.h.s., education, e.p.a. >> pelley: the two most prominent things on the skyline from this vantage point are the washington monument and the new trump hotel. >> ryan: that's right. that's what i knew you were going to say. >> pelley: the new trump hotel. >> ryan: that's the new trump hotel. yeah he notic-- he actually noted that, when i took him up here. >> pelley: i bet he did. he probably told you what a great place it was. >> ryan: he said something like that. >> pelley: is that a reminder of who's boss? >> ryan: the washington monument's the tallest one. and by the way, the dome, it's a little higher.
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>> pelley: beneath the dome, ryan will have a front row seat to trump's swearing in. did you believe he could be nominated? really? >> ryan: yeah, no, i-- i didn't see this one comin'. he knows that. i don't think most people in the country saw. if you would've put last year into a movie script and taken it to hollywood two years ago, they would've laughed you out of the room, because it wouldn't have been believable. >> pelley: did you see election night coming? >> ryan: no, not really. i think-- >> pelley: you expected hillary clinton to win. >> ryan: i thought the odds were clearly in her favor. so i was a little surprised, pleasantly so. >> pelley: do you trust him? >> ryan: yeah. >> pelley: here's something many people wonder. does he say the same bizarre things to you in private that he says in public? and it's an important distinction-- >> ryan: you know, i think there is a bit of a difference between the private person and the public person. in the private person, there's a conversation like this, and it's all about how to get things done.
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so every conversation i have almost always revolves around, you know, personnel and policy focused on producing results. >> pelley: trump tweeted, in the last week or so, that he had actually won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions who voted illegally. do you believe that? >> ryan: i don't know. i-- i'm not really focused on these things. >> pelley: wait a minute. wait a minute. you-- you have an opinion on whether millions of americans voted illegally? >> ryan: i-- i have no way of backing that up. i have no knowledge of such things. >> pelley: you don't believe that-- >> ryan: but i don't-- it doesn't matter to me. he won the election. >> pelley: but how, we asked, does he negotiate with a man whose word, or tweets, cannot always be believed? >> ryan: look, ( sighs ), like i said, he's going to-- the way i see-- the-- the-- the tweets you're talking about, he's basically giving voice to a lot of people who have felt that they were voiceless. he's s-- communicating with people in this country who've felt like they have not been
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listened to. he's going to be an unconventional president. i really think we have a great opportunity in front of us to fix problems, produce results, and improve people's lives. that's why we're here in the first place, and so that's what's going to matter at the end of the day. did we impro p